Wednesday, April 11, 2007

National Post Caught In Global Warming Lie

In the course of Lawrence Solomon's series on Global Warming skeptics, "The Deniers", no less than three scientists were incorrectly referred to as global warming "deniers", including Nigel Weiss, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. Of the three, Mr. Weiss was offended enough that he issued a press release clarifying his position, and wrote a letter to the Natty Post claiming that Solomon had slandered him. At first Solomon slithered about in print for a bit, claiming that he was using the term "denier" in its most heroic sense. I guess, however, that the threat of imminent legal action held sway at last, because this morning the Post assumed its best grovelling position:

Nigel Weiss, professor of astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, believes that the warming trend in Earth's climate is caused by greenhouse gases produced by human activity, and that the effect of a potential future reduction in solar activity would not reverse or cancel out that trend, but might have a small effect in mitigating it. He has held these views for several years. Incorrect information appeared in a column in the Financial Post on Feb. 2. The National Post withdraws any allegation that Dr. Weiss is a global warming "denier" and regrets the embarrassment caused him by the Feb. 2 column and a further column on Feb. 9.

On behalf of Mr. Weiss and the planet in general, let me just respond to this by saying that the editorial staff and columnists at the Natty Post are all a bunch of wiggly worms, the lowest form of life that crawls, and I look forward with joy and anticipation to the day when your next rotten filthy lie is waved before your faces and you are, once again, forced to eat the dirt that lies beneath our feet.


I'm NOT a Warmist said...


By Indur M Goklany

Although the SPM has some useful and apt things to say about the need for adaptation, it is flawed by the fact that it: * Overstates negative impacts and understates positive impacts of climate change. * Overstates the level of confidence that should be attached to the impacts on both human systems as well as "natural" systems (because the latter are also affected by human actions). * Fails to examine the impacts of climate change in the wider context of other stresses affecting humanity and the rest of nature, which would allow us to gauge the importance of climate change relative to other stresses. * Fails to examine the relationship between climate change and sustainable economic development more fully, which could mislead policymakers into opting for policies that would divert scarce resources from dealing with today's urgent problems in favor of policies to pursue longer term, and more uncertain, problems. Among the several problems regarding the SPM are the following:

1. Once one gets past the opaque verbiage of the SPM, it is clear that most of the negative impacts listed in the SPM are overstated, while the positive impacts are understated. This is particularly true for impacts that human beings can directly or indirectly alleviate through adaptation. The SPM implicitly acknowledges this by stating in the captions for Tables SPM-1 and SPM-2 (which cover pp. 15-17) that they do not account for adaptation and "changes or developments in adaptive capacity". This is also generally true for the impacts listed on pp. 7 through 14, as is implied by the sentence in the preamble to Section C that states, "The magnitude and timing of impacts will vary with the amount and timing of climate change and, in some cases, the capacity to adapt." Note that Part C, which includes the abovementioned tables, covers virtually all the material in the SPM that speaks to future impacts.

2. Overstatement of negative impacts and understatement of positive impacts occurs because the methodologies generally used in the impact studies do not account fully, if at all, for increases in "adaptive capacity" (i.e., the ability to adapt) that should occur if the world gets wealthier, as is assumed by the IPCC's emission scenarios. An increase in adaptive capacity would translate into greater "autonomous" (or "automatic") adaptation that would occur in the absence of explicit policies, because under a "business as usual" world, i.e., in the normal course of things, humans (as well as other species) will take steps to reduce harm to themselves, take advantage of any new opportunities that may come along, or both, regardless of whether anyone gives them the green light that it's OK to adapt.

3. A corollary of this methodological oversight is that most of these impacts studies are inconsistent with the level of economic development assumed by the IPCC's emission scenarios and, therefore, with their estimates of climate change. So we have the curious situation where high economic growth drives large emission estimates but the same level of economic growth is overlooked in estimating impacts. All the IPCC emission estimates assume that the world will become significantly wealthier between 1990 and 2100. Under the poorest scenario (the A2 scenario), the average GDP per capita in developing countries will be nine times higher in 2100 than in 1990 (in real dollars), while under the richest-but-warmest" scenario (the A1FI scenario), it will be 70 times higher than that for the average inhabitant of developed countries in 1990, i.e., she would be wealthier than her U.S. and Luxembourg counterpart in 1990).

This means developing countries should have much greater access to available technologies to cope with climate change than they have today. Equally important, technology would have advanced - existing technologies would be replaced by new and improved technologies and they will also be cheaper (in real dollars). But generally these developments are not fully considered.

4. In the few cases where they consider that existing technologies will be adopted more widely because of increasing wealth, these studies don't generally allow for new technologies. This is the case for some of the studies of agricultural production and hunger, for example. These studies estimate impacts for 2085 using technologies from the 1990s or earlier. This is like estimating today's food production and levels of hunger using technologies from the 1910s! You are bound to underestimate food production and overestimate hunger.

In developing countries prevalence of chronic hunger declined from 37% to 17% between 1970 and 2001, despite an 83% increase in population, in substantial part because of new technologies. These improvements would not be captured using the above methodologies had they been applied in, say, the 1960s to estimate hunger in the 2000s. [This view -- that adaptive capacities and technologies are static -- was exactly why Paul Ehrlich's predictions in the Population Bomb, for example, bombed in reality.]

Not allowing for secular technological change or for technologies developed specifically to alleviate any impacts of climatic changes does not reflect "business-as usual" as the IPCC scenarios claim to do. One should expect the greater the potential food shortfall, the greater the adaptive response. It means that net negative impacts for the future are overstated. Similarly, human health impacts are often estimated assuming that adaptive capacities are fixed as of the start date of the analysis. Under such a methodology the mortality and morbidity rates from water related diseases in the U.S., for example, would be the same in 2000 as in 1900. But in fact, these rates have declined by 99% or more during the 20th century for disease such as typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery, malaria, etc. (Goklany 2007c). This indicates that because of such methodologies, the potential for error is very large indeed especially for analyses that span several decades.

5. Because increases in adaptive capacity with increasing wealth and technological development have been largely ignored, the confidence levels attached to numerical estimates of the impacts on human-affected systems are exaggerated.

6. Ignoring adaptation overstates impact estimates not only for so-called human systems (e.g., food production, hunger, water resource management, human health, etc.), it also overstates the adverse impacts on the "rest of nature." This is because the most important current-day threats to ecosystems and species are loss of habitat, and overexploitation of biological resources. Consider terrestrial ecosystems and species. The most significant threat for them is conversion of land for agriculture and timber. But if we produce more food or timber per acre of land that means we can reduce or relieve these threats on ecosystems and biodiversity. And, in fact, over the past century, we have been producing more food per acre. Today worldwide we feed almost twice as many people on an acre of land as we did in 1900, and we feed them better (as witnessed by the drop in chronic hunger, see above). This is a trend that should continue unless we reject technologies, such as bioengineered crops, that will help produce more food on less land and with fewer chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.

Moreover, some studies indicate that global requirements for cropland may indeed decline in the future (at least through the 2100) because of a combination of technological change, carbon fertilization and climatic changes. But less cropland means more land for the rest of nature. None of this is accounted for in the estimates of species extinction, as far as one can tell. Thus, those estimates should be viewed with suspicion on that basis alone, and the notion that we know the effects of climate change on species with "medium confidence" (p. 8) verges on the ludicrous.

7. In addition, as evidenced by the environmental initiatives that have been undertaken over the past decades not only in the US but also around the world (e.g., restoration of habitats, reductions in hunting and fishing quotas, reserving land for conservation purposes, agreement to manage or restrict fishing and hunting of various species etc.), other efforts will be made, even in the absence of climate change policy, to reduce pressures from non-climate change related threats to ecosystems and species which would, then, reduce the vulnerability of these systems to climate change. But none of these are factored into these analyses either.

8. There are additional reasons for skepticism regarding the level of confidence attached to estimates of impacts on ecosystems and species. First, impacts on species and ecosystems have to be based on local climatic changes. But the uncertainties in changes in temperature and precipitation increase as we go from the global to the regional to the local scales. Second, many of the estimates regarding shifts in ranges and species extinction are based on studies that employ the modeled association between current climates and present-day species distributions to predict future ranges and extinction risks under radically different climatic regimes where atmospheric CO2 concentrations are much higher, and rates of plant growth, water use efficiency, energy requirements of species, predator-prey relationships and, possibly, species-area relationships would all be different from what they are today.

Future outcomes may also be confounded by unanticipated evolutionary changes. There is also the possibility that species have broader climatic tolerances than indicated by their observed ranges would indicate. Moreover, with respect to vegetation in particular, species, once established, may not be easily moved or pushed aside.

9. Impacts assessments generally employ a series of models in which the uncertain output of each model provides the inputs for the next model. To compound matters, each model is itself based on uncertain assumptions and is necessarily a simplification of reality. Usually the series of models starts with assumptions of population growth, economic growth and technological development from 1990-2100 in order to generate emission scenarios. These emission scenarios then are used to generate atmospheric concentrations of the various greenhouse gases (ideally based on models of the global cycles involving each of the greenhouse gases). Next, these concentrations are used to calculate radiative forcing to estimate temporal and spatial changes in climatic variables. These variables are then fed into biophysical models to estimate location-specific biophysical changes (e.g., changes in the distribution of vegetation and species, sea level, timber and crop yields, etc.). Then depending on the system under consideration, these outputs may be used to drive socioeconomic models to estimate impacts on human beings, e.g., food production, hunger, etc. And, as noted previously, there are egregious oversimplifications and systematic errors in this step which overestimate net negative impacts.

Thus, we have a system where uncertainties build on each other. Unfortunately, there are few, if any, analyses that show how these errors and uncertainties propagate through the system of models. Given this, the SPM's characterization of the level of confidence attached to impacts estimates is overstated. It's hard to see how one can with a straight face claim that we have anything other than low confidence in the estimates.

10. Although the SPM notes that vulnerability to climate change will be exacerbated by other stresses, it fails to note that by the same token relieving these other stresses will increase the resilience of systems to climate change itself. Examples of this are furnished in paragraphs 6 and 7. 11. Although the SPM notes that vulnerability to climate change will be exacerbated by other stresses, it neglects literature that shows that through much of the rest of this century the contribution of climate change to the combined stresses on various systems is smaller than the contribution of other factors. [Some of this literature is summarized in Goklany 2005, 2007a, 2007b].

Consequently, the SPM fails to inform policymakers that through the foreseeable future dealing with these other factors could be more important - and could provide greater benefits in terms of advancing human and environmental well-being (Goklany 2005, 2007a).

12. Likewise, it fails to inform policymakers that dealing with these other stresses that climate change would exacerbate could help society deal with the additional stresses caused by climate change more effectively and possibly at lower costs (Goklany 2007a, 2007b).

13. The SPM obfuscates on the relationship between climate change and sustainable development. It suggests that climate change could impede nations' abilities to achieve sustainable development pathways. While this might be true in the longer term, over the foreseeable future it is lack of sustainable economic development that hinders their ability to cope with and alleviate the impacts of climate change. The failure to acknowledge that the lack of sustainable economic development constitutes a larger and more immediate problem than climate change (see paragraph 11) is potentially misleading in that policymakers may divert resources to solve longer term problems while ignoring current-day problems that are and will continue to be more urgent than climate change in the foreseeable future and which may actually be easier to solve (Goklany 2005, 2007a).


bigcitylib said...

Adaptive capacity is a wee tad hard to measure. You might as well try to work the effect of magc beans into your projections.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you've got your panties in a knot, that's one of the better apologies I've ever seen in a paper.

No surprise that it was from somebody on the 'right'. Whenever the Left makes a similar mistake or worse, the apology either never comes or is buried in a tiny blurb with the least amount of information possible. "In our story of April 7th, page 8, we incorrectly referred to Mr. X as a redneck racist homophobe."

Anonymous said...

Adaptive capacity is hard to measure, but it's easy to predict weather 100 years into the future? You AGW believers have all the magic beans anyway, so you figure it out.

bigcitylib said...

It is easy to tell what happens to a closed system when you pump CO2 into it and apply heat. That's highschool physics.

Richard said...

BCL said: "It is easy to tell what happens to a closed system when you pump CO2 into it and apply heat. That's highschool physics."

The earth isn't a "closed system"...

Jay said...

It's primarily a closed system albeit it does interact with other planetary body on many levels.

It is materially closed though, so gases and other "material" does not leave our planet. So BCL is right with regard to pumping in CO2 and applying heat. Earth is materially closed.

It is only an open system with regard to the effect gravity, solar flares, on and on from other planetary bodies have on us.

CO2 stays with us as do all other gases, particulates, vapour, etc.

It's quite misleading to make a statement that's partially true to validate a position that is dependent on the part you choose to discard.

Ti-Guy said...

What else can you expect from Richard Evans? A "closed system" if there ever was one.

Jay said...

To further the point.

If it is solar flares that are creating global warming as all the climate change deniers turned astrophysicists suggest then it is still our fault because we have too much CO2 which came from our activities. The sun's just doing what its done since it formed.

They also claim Mars is warming though it can't. It doesn't have much of an atmosphere. The very reason life is no longer on the surface and "terraforming" of sorts would be required. In other words we have to induce global warming.

As well the claim that the moons of Jupiter also are under going global warming is pure crap. We don't even know the composition of their atmosphere and the sun would not be responsible since Jupiter itself generates 2.5 times more energy for its moons than the sun because of its distance from this planetary mini system.

Where do these people come up with such nonsense? Is the attempt to remove the discussion from a tangible reality to something that can be completely fabricated because no body knows and its fair game? Sounds kind of like a bible doesn't it?

bigcitylib said...


There have been temperature increases observed on Mars, a couple of moons of Saturn, and (I think) Pluto in the last couple of years. Some of these probably being seasonal in nature, others are not yet explained. The problem with the anti-GW claims here is we do not have to look at what Mars is doing, or Pluto is doing, to see if it might be caused by increases in solar activity. We have got, and have had for a long time, alot of earthbound, earth orbiting, and now sun orbiting sensors whose job it is to monitor the sun directly. And they show no increase in solar activity (as the scientists who pointed out the warming on Mars were careful to point out).

Anonymous said...

Earth has already reached the saturation point at which CO2 creates the greenhouse effect. And it was reached a loooooooong time ago. More CO2 doesn't add any more 'greenhouse effect'.

Holly Stick said...

Anonymous, what the hell do you mean by this? "Earth has already reached the saturation point at which CO2 creates the greenhouse effect. And it was reached a loooooooong time ago. More CO2 doesn't add any more 'greenhouse effect'."

Are you saying that God decreed only so much CO2 would be allowed into earth's atmosphere, or what? How exactly would we breathe in an atmosphere saturated with CO2?

Did you get this from Tim Ball, or Tom Harris, or some other denialist shill who is still fooling fools?

Or was it really a statement that the ocean is saturated with CO2, which might be possible I think?

canuckistanian said...

why is it that any post related to global warming draws the freaks out of the woodwrok to post the entire summary for policymakers and other tripe. how sad...and strange.

anonytroll said:
"Earth has already reached the saturation point at which CO2 creates the greenhouse effect. And it was reached a loooooooong time ago. More CO2 doesn't add any more 'greenhouse effect'."

uhuh, and when you double-pane your greenhouse it doesn't get warmer. get a life and a brain. its like these people don't even know that the greenhouse effect is a natural phenomena??? didn't they attend grade 4 science class???

Holly Stick said...

Grade 4 science? They probably were home-schooled so they wouldn't have to learn all that evolution stuff, not to mention sex education and anything else that involves the real world.

Global Warming Denying Freak said...

Nuh uh...

There. That settles it. No Global Warming for YOU!

Holly Stick said...

About the first post: Indur M Goklany hangs out with the usual denialist suspects at the Heartland Institute and
other such dink tanks:

Anonymous said...

Hi BigCity,

Been meaning to put you up on our blog roll -- sorry it took so long.

bigcitylib said...


That is quite an honor. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"This fact, alone, renders ludicrous a statement offered by Dr. Heidi Cullen, the climate expert at The Weather Channel. Directing her attention to the differences of opinion over the causes of global warming, Dr. Cullen has reportedly proposed that meteorologists who deviate from the established orthodoxy of human-caused global warming should be defrocked of their American Meteorological Association indicia of expertise. The global-warming faith is grounded in the illusion that a system of such immeasurable complexity – hence, variability – as climate, can nonetheless be rendered predictable over centuries of time. What a remarkable presumption, coming from one whose profession cannot accurately predict next week’s weather, but who insists upon a sufficient omniscience regarding the causal factors that reach across the millennia to warrant purging those who disagree with her opinions.

Not to be overlooked in his efforts to ferret out heresies, the governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, wants to remove George Taylor from his present position as “State Climatologist.” Taylor – a prolific writer on weather and climate – uttered the blasphemy that “most of the climate changes we have seen up until now have been a result of natural variations.” Those who believe that there is a separation of “religion” and “state” in America confuse form over substance.

Our culture has been so dominated by scientism that there is a tendency to equate scientific conclusions with objective reality. In his “uncertainty principle,” Werner Heisenberg advised us of the fact that the observer is an integral part of what is being observed. The myth of the “impartial” and “objective” observer is no longer taken seriously by thoughtful people. I may be most sincere in my efforts to cut through appearances and get to the core of an important “truth,” but it remains my choice as to what to study, and it is my thinking that sets up the inquiry and evaluates my observations. We are unavoidably a part of what we are studying."

You can read the entire article at

Anonymous said...


People post the entire anti-AGW articles because you believers somehow can't seem to find them yourselves.

Further, what the hell does a glass greenhouse have to do with the atmosphere? Are you changing the analogy because you don't understand the topic, or because you DO understand the topic?

Holly Stick said...

Actually, anon, some fiendish soul taught the denialists to select, copy and paste, so that they could avoid the hard work of thinking, of learning to articulate a reasoned argument, and of learning to spell and use proper grammar.

deno said...


Here is a link to an article written by a feminist democrat in the US opinion of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth.

You have to scholl down abit to get to her opinion on Inconvenient Truth

Here's one paragraph

"Environmentalism is a noble cause. It is damaged by propaganda and half-truths. Every industrialized society needs heightened consciousness about its past, present and future effects on the biosphere. Though I am a libertarian, I am a strong supporter of vigilant scrutiny and regulation of industry by local, state and federal agencies. But there must be a balance with the equally vital need for economic development, especially in the Third World"

I hope that you take the time to read her thoughts.


deno said...

Here is the link. For some reason it will not show up in its entirety so I cut it into 3 parts which you will have to put back together to get to the website.



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